Feast of the Holy Family

On behalf of all the priests we hope that everyone is having a holy and joyful Christmas! Recall, Christmas is not just the celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ for one day. It is eight day celebration of Jesus’ Birth and the God-man’s presence in the world!

What is God’s definition of a successful family? It would be the family of which the Son of God was a part, The Holy Family. The key to a successful family is holiness – godliness. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph was poor and unnoticed by the ‘powerful’ of their time. Yet, they were the most influential family in all of history! Why? The Holy Family was rooted in God and doing His Will.

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Fear

At the Incarnation of the Son of God, there is a natural emotion that is addressed in the Gospels: Fear, the aversion to a perceived danger.

The Archangel Gabriel appears to Zechariah and tells him, ‘Do not be afraid, for your prayer is heard, . . .’

After greeting Our Lady, Gabriel says to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’

St. Joseph is told by the angel, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; . . .’

Finally, the angel greets the shepherds, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy . . . .’

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Voting 2020

In just a few weeks, Americans will again have the opportunity to elect various government officials.  Our Founding Fathers were not perfect.  That said, when they founded this Democratic Republic, they established an incredible system wherein every person would have an equal vote to elect representatives to govern the country.

As Catholics, our Faith, established by Almighty God in Jesus Christ, is our guide as how to apply moral principles so as to cast a vote which is a good action rather than a bad action.  Voting is a moral action: it is either virtuous or sinful.  Some would say the Church should stay out of politics.  True and false.  When priests in various countries have tried to run for politics, the Church has told them to choose the priesthood or politics.  That said, the Church as the Moral Teacher in the world, must address and judge policies that various candidates may espouse.  What of a society that ceases to incorporate principles of Natural Law and Christian charity?  If no one has a right to life; a right to religious liberty; a right to private property?  How long can it endure?

In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI wrote a document entitled, ‘Sacramentum Caritatis’ wherein he explained there are Three Non-Negotiables that a Catholic may never compromise:

Sanctity of Life
Sanctity of Marriage
Religious Liberty

At times people wish to confuse issues related to life as all equal.  Some may say immigration, the death penalty, abortion and euthanasia are equal.  They are not.  Abortion and euthanasia are inherently evil; they can NEVER be good or allowed.  They are the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.  As a Catholic, one may never support abortion

Marriage between a man and a woman is an absolute, objective good as God established it.  So called ‘same-sex marriage’ is inherently wrong; no child can come forth from it.  You will notice that not too long ago we were told to ‘tolerate’ others’ choices.  Do they tolerate ours now?  Will they?

Religious Liberty is an absolute that may never be compromised.  Whether to live out one’s beliefs without harassment in business or in attendance at Mass, religious liberty is innate to the human person.  There are those running for public office who would require Catholic institutions to pay for abortifacient drugs for employees.

The pre-eminent issue, of course, is abortion and the right to life upon which all other rights are built.  What is a candidate’s voting record on abortion?  Even if a candidate says he/she cares about the sanctity of human life, what has been his/her actions?  One may even say he/she is a faithful Catholic.  Has he/she supported abortion?  Facts are facts.  One can easily find the answers from faithful Catholic entities – for example, National Catholic Register.  One can also just read each party’s platform.

May we vote as Catholics this year who are faithful to Jesus Christ in all elements of our lives.

God bless

FRVW

Fraternal Correction Points by Fr. Herbert F. Smith, S.J.

  1. Unless you are a model correction taker, be slow to give it.
  2. Correct like a friend and fellow sinner, not like an enemy.
  3. Knowing how you resent unjust correction, never inflict it.
  4. Harping on past faults is not correction but condemnation.
  5. Know that love wins over better than an army of accusations.
  6. Get help to correct when it is needed.
  7. Frame the correction so it will heal and not wound further.
  8. Decide first whether the person needs correction or help.
  9. Correct infrequently, and only the greater failings.
  10. Correction hurts, so don’t correct with a sledgehammer.
  11. Think how prayerfully Mary would correct, and imitate her.
  12. Put yourself in the culprit’s shoes and think about it.  You may end up congratulating him for not being worse!

Mother Teresa

We hope everyone is having a ‘peaceful’ return to school! It is encouraging to see many parents involved in the education of their children this fall, especially religious instruction.

Over the course of the last many months I have been trying to consider the lives of saints who worked with the poor and the sick. How many there are who cared for the sick and the dying without any of the advances of modern medicine! Their faith and trust in Almighty God’s protection and providence is an example worth considering in our present situation.

One recent saint who cared for the poor, the sick and the dying was Mother Teresa. She died September 5, 1997. On September 10, 1946, after seventeen years as a teaching Sister, she sensed a calling from Our Lord to live with and care for the poorest of the poor – in a predominantly non-Christian country: India. On December 21, 1948 she made her first visit to the slums of Calcutta. After daily Holy Communion and Rosary in hand, she went out each day to serve Jesus in ‘the unwanted, the unloved and uncared for.’ One by one, her former students joined her.

Mother Teresa’s new congregation, The Missionaries of Charity, was established officially on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, October 7, 1950. By the 1960s MCs were going out to other countries to care for society’s cast-aways. By the 1990s the MCs were in all of the former communist countries, including the former Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba.

As a younger priest, I was given many opportunities to offer Mass for the MCs in Washington, DC at their Home for the Dying/AIDS House and their Soup Kitchen/Home for Mothers and Children. There is so much to learn from these humble yet capable consecrated women! Their joy and care for others – intermingling with their residents freely and without fear. Their sensitivity with their residents – physical touch is the language of love, especially to the terminally ill and dying. Their daily life of prayer that begins with early morning Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, hours of Eucharistic Adoration and devotion to Our Lady in the Rosary.

A few quotes from Mother Teresa worth considering:

· Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think is a much greater hunger, a much great poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

· Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

· Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.

God bless

FRVW

Consecration vs. Covid

Dear Holy Trinity Parishioners!

How are you? I hope your week has been one of close quarters, peace, joy, creativity, conversation and holiness!

You may be wondering at the title of this ‘note’. Yes, well, Our Lady always wins.

Friday, May 1st Archbishop Gomez, the President of our conference of Catholic Bishops will lead all Catholics, in union with our bishops, in a re-consecration of our country to Our Blessed Mother. (The Canadians will also be doing the same.) As the month of May is dedicated to Our Lady, this re-consecration is very appropriate in the midst of the coronavirus. Documents and livestream info are at lacatholics.org/consecration/. Please join Catholics of America in making this consecration for Our Lady’s Protection from the coronavirus.

Our Lord desires that we ask, seek and knock. He also is pleased when we go to Him through His Mother. Let us not forget that Jesus performed His first miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana because His Mother asked Him! Let us implore Our Lady together in her month for a conversion of hearts and minds to Jesus and an end to this coronavirus!

Thank you very much for your prayers over the last two weeks. Fr. Carr has been given the ‘thumbs up’ from his doctor to resume his duties at the parish. You may recall last week’s blog post when I said Father Carr would have a two week quarantine. Actually, the rest of us in the rectory needed the two week quarantine – which ended today. For those who have COVID, the Center for Disease Control, gives the following guidance before public interaction:

  1. Free from fever for 72 hours – without medication
  2. Other symptoms have improved.
  3. 7 days have passed since beginning of symptoms.

Fr. Carr has hit all the above. I have consulted with the diocese as well throughout the last two weeks.

That said, we will begin our regular schedule of confessions this Saturday.

We do not have any word yet on when we will begin to have public Masses. Bishop Burbidge has assembled a team to help him identify when and how we can begin public Masses. Please continue your prayers for our bishop and those helping him in this process that Our Lord grant them wisdom and courage.

God bless

FRVW